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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

An Investigation of Seung Sahn’s Seon: “Don’t Know” Mind, Ten Gates, and Systems of Hierarchy and Authorization

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2014, v.54 no.4, pp.29-51
https://doi.org/10.25024/kj.2014.54.4.29

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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to identify the relation of the school of Seon (Zen) taught by the Korean master Seung Sahn to both Korean Seon and its Japanese counterpart by focusing on the three innovative devices he employed in his teachings. These are “don’t know” mind, the Ten Gates gongan practice, and the systems of hierarchy and authorization he established, each representing Seung Sahn’s perspective on Seon thought, practice, and authorization of teachers, respectively. As for “don’t know” mind, I analyze its relation to Korean Seon and Huineng’s Chan, and investigate the reasons for its popularity among the Western public. Then, I examine the purpose of the gongan approach known as Ten Gates and determine its relation to the Japanese Rinzai koan curriculum. Finally, I focus on the unique features of the hierarchy and authorization systems, especially the inclusion of lay practitioners in leadership and the authorizing function of the practice community.

keywords
Seung Sahn “don’t know” mind Ten Gates Kwan Um School of Zen Korean Seon American Zen

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